Horse Grooming: Brushes and Combs

Grooming is an important part of horse ownership.  Regular grooming helps your horse maintain a clean healthy coat.  There are many tools on the market designed to help you maintain your horse’s coat, mane, and tail.

Curry Combs Pictured above are a few types of curry combs on the market.  In order from left to right is a shedding blade, a metal curry comb, a rubber curry comb, and a metal curry comb with a mane and tail comb on the back side.  When I groom my horse I typically use a curry comb first.  It helps loosen any dirt or hair from the horses skin so you can then brush it away.  Normally when my horse isn’t too dirty, I use a rubber curry comb on him first.  I make small circle with it all over his body, taking special care on bony areas like his face and legs.  The metal curry combs I try to reserve for times when my horse is muddy, since if you are not careful the metal teeth can damage your horses skin.

The shedding blade is a device that is  designed to remove excess loose hair from your horse.  Like curry combs it has small teeth on one side. I use this mostly in the spring when my horse is really starting to shed.  Most shedding blades have a clip on them that allows you to open them up, which works great for combing those larger areas of  your horse, like his rump or sides.  The other nice thing about a shedding blade is that you can flip it over and use the smooth side as a sweat scrapper when your horse is sweaty or after a bath.  Like the metal curry comb, don’t use this on your horse’s face or the bony part of his legs.


A good brush is the next step in grooming your horse.  I have three different types of brushes in my tool box: one with stiff bristles, one with soft bristles and a soft bristled face brush.  After I curry my horse I use the brush on him to get rid of the dirt and hair I brought to the surface.  Brushing also helps distribute your horses natural oils from his skin to his hair.  When brushing your horse, it works best to use quick strokes with a little “flick” at the end.  I use the stiff bristled brush when my horse has a thicker coat in the fall and winter and use the soft bristled brush in the summer.  A face brush is a special brush designed to use on your horses face.  It is smaller and softer than the brushes intended to use on your horses body.  My horses love to have their faces brushed.

Mane and Tail Combs and Brushes

Mane and tail combs and brushes also come in an assortment of shapes and sizes.  The plastic combs are suppose to be better because they are less likely to break off your horses hair, but personally I prefer to  use the metal comb.  Also on the market is a thinning rake. Don’t confuse this with a regular comb.  It’s razor like blades are designed to thin your horses hair as you comb it.  Typically this is used on only your horse’s mane when you want to thin it down.  We use it when preparing for a show before we band the horse’s mane.  In this picture you can see how thin Dollar’s mane is. Typically it is thicker than this, but we used the thinning rake to thin it, and then we banded it to accentuate his neck. Be careful not to over do it though or your horse could end up with some bald spots.

Grooming your horse should be a nice relaxing time for you to spend with your horse.   He will love the attention that you are giving him, and his coat will shine for it.